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R (Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire) v Blaby District Council [2014] EWHC 1719 (Admin)

DATE: 27 May 2014

This was a rolled-up application for judicial review brought by Leicestershire Police against the grant by Blaby District Council in January 2014 of planning permission for a new urban extension at Lubbesthorpe, which would meet a substantial proportion of its housing and employment requirements for the plan period and was for: 

“4,250 dwellings, a mixed use district centre and two mixed use local centres featuring a supermarket, retail, commercial, employment, leisure, health, community and residential uses, non-residential institutions including a secondary school, primary schools and nurseries, an employment site of 21 hectares, open spaces, woodlands, new access points and associated facilities and infrastructure, and detailed proposals for two new road bridges over the M1 motorway and M69 motorway, and two road access points from Beggars Lane and new accesses from Meridian Way, Chapel Green/Baines Lane and Leicester Lane.”

The development is expected to generate over £150 million investment in new infrastructure and over 1,500 new jobs. 

The JR was brought on the basis that the Council acted irrationally and unfairly in relation to the Police's claim for s. 106 contributions to policing infrastructure generated by the proposals, in that the police contributions of up to £1.6million contained in the s.106 agreement were to be triggered only after the occupation of 2600 and 3750 dwellings and were to be reviewed for their CIL Regulations compatibility at the time they became due.

The Police’s allegations included the claims that the decision to phase payments, taken because of the extensive early costs of the development (including bridges over the M1 and M69) had been irrational and that the process had been unfair (although there had been extensive consultations over many months) and the Police ought to have been consulted on the final form of the obligation.

In a reserved judgment, Foskett J. dismissed the claim on all grounds (refusing permission on two of them), holding that:

  1. The Council had been rationally entitled to conclude that, having regard to the precarious cashflow of the project in its early phases, the police contributions did not need to be payable during those early phases in order for the development to be acceptable;

  2. The Council’s officers had not been obliged to refer the matter back to the Planning Committee;

  3. There was nothing in the communications between the Council and the Police which generated a legitimate expectation that the police would be consulted on the final form of the s.106 obligation; and

  4. Insofar as there had been a failure to comply with the requirement Article 36(3)(b) of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) Order 2010 to place proposed planning obligations on the Council’s planning register, there was no prejudice in the absence of any evidence that the Police checked the planning register before the permission was granted.

Blaby DC and the Developers Consortium were represented by David Elvin QC and Charles Banner (instructed by Marrons Shakespeares LLP and King Wood & Mallesons SJ Berwin LLP), and Zack Simons also advised the Council.

The County Council, also opposing the JR, was represented by Alex Goodman